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One Survivor Remembers: Primary Documents
 

One Survivor Remembers: Primary Documents

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Teaching Tolerance

Teaching Tolerance

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    One Survivor Remembers: Primary Documents One Survivor Remembers: Primary Documents Document Transcript

    • A photo of Gerda’s father, Julius Weissman, which Gerda kept in her ski boot during her years in Nazi slave-labor camps. Julius Weiss- mann helped save Gerda’s life by insisting that she wear ski boots when the Nazis took her away; she wore the ski boots during a forced death march in which other young women were barefoot or wearing only sandals in the snow. photo taken circa 1937 A photo of Gerda’s mother, He- lene Weissmann, which Gerda kept in her ski boot during her years in Nazi slave-labor camps. photo taken circa 1939A photo of Gerda’s brother, ArturWeissman, which Gerda kept in herski boot during her years in Nazi slave-labor camps. Artur was the first inGerda’s immediate family to be takenaway by the Nazis.photo taken circa 1937
    • A photo of AmericanSoldier Kurt Klein,given to Gerda. Themessage, translatedfrom German: "To myGerda, with a full heart.Kurt."dated sept. 14, 1945
    • A photo of Gerda’s Uncle Leo, takenshortly before he moved to Turkey.Sixty-seven of Gerda’s relatives,including all of her immediate family,dies in the Holocaust. Only Gerda andUncle Leo survived.photo taken 1924-1925
    • A Nazi identification photograph ofGerda Weissman, age 16. Gerda’smother had sewn this dress from agreen blanket, adding a collar from oneof her own dresses.photo taken circa 1940
    • A photo of Gerda and herbrother, Artur Weissmann.Photo taken circa 1936
    • A school photo ofGerda, whose face iscircled, second row,fifth from left.photo taken circa 1932
    • Gerda was held in several slave-labor camps,including this one, where she worked thelooms in a factory setting. She and others livedin the building on the left; newly arriving pris-oners were housed in the building on the right.Modern photos
    • The Weissmann family homein Bielsko, Poland. When theGerman army invaded Poland, theWeissmanns were forced to livein their own basement.photo taken circa 1990
    • A photo of Gerda’s childhoodfriend, Isle Kleinzahler, holdingher father’s hand on a street inBielsko, Poland. Isle and Gerdaspent years together in Nazislave-labor camps.photo taken circa 1929
    • During the Holocaust, Jewsand others lost all possessions,including birth certificates andother vital documents. Follow-ing the war, survivors wereissued Temporary Registrationdocuments to begin re-establishing their identities.dated sept. 23, 1945
    • Lt. Kurt Klein, an intel-ligence officer, had accessto “secret” documentssuch as this, written at theend of World War II, at thesame time Klein and othersarrived to liberate Gerdaand other survivors of thedeath march.Dated May 7, 1945, the same daykurt and gerda first met
    • Lt. Kurt Klein, an intel-ligence officer, had accessto “secret” documentssuch as this, written at theend of World War II, at thesame time Klein and othersarrived to liberate Gerdaand other survivors of thedeath march.Dated May 7, 1945, the same daykurt and gerda first met
    • This paperwork identifies plansto expand the slave-labor campat Grunberg, where Gerda wouldbe sent.Dated May 29, 1942
    • A letter from Americansoldier Kurt to Gerda, hisfuture wife. “Just know thatthe nightmare is over,” hewrote, “and the future liesbefore us in brighter colors.”dated Sept. 16, 1945
    • A letter from Gerda to her“most precious” Kurt. “Mythoughts of you are thecore of my existence,” shewrote. “They can conquerall obstacles.”dated sept. 18, 1945
    • Many minorities — Jews, Roma (Gypsies), homosexuals, political and religious prisoners, and the mentally ill — were “marked”for annihilation by the Nazis. The felt “Jude” star included in this kit is another such symbol.
    • Badges for interned prisoners in the concentration camps Form and color of Badges habitual political criminal immigrant Bible researcher homosexual Anti-Social Basic colors Badges forSecond offenders prisoners of punishment companies Badges for Jews Jewish race Jewish race desecrator– desecrator– prisoner 2307 Special Badges Male Female Flight Suspect Number P T previous Armed Forces Special prisoners polish czech Member Badge Many minorities — Jews, roma (Gypsies), homosexuals, political and religious prisoners, and the mentally ill — were “marked” for annihi- lation by the Nazis. the felt “Jude” star included in this kit is another such symbol.
    • As allied forces encircledGermany in the fall of 1944, theNazis tried to hide their crimes,dismantling camps and evacuat-ing prisoners on what came tobe known as death marches.Gerda’s march, in the bitter win-ter of 1945, lasted for 350 milesuntil she was liberated in Volary.map boundaries circa 1937
    • Hundreds of Nazi camps — deathcamps and slave-labor camps —covered the landscape ofGerman-occupied Europe.
    • A postcard of the Weissmannfamily’s hometown, present-day Bielsko, Poland. Thebuilding on the left is whereGerda attended school asa child.date unknown
    • A postcard to Gerda’s Uncle Leo in Turkey. In the postcard, Gerdaexplains that she is writing to Uncle Leo “because Mama’s nervesare in bad shape.” Artur. Gerda’s brother, had been taken away bythe Nazis in October, but the family still hadn’t heard a word fromor about him.dated may 27, 1940
    • Nazi propaganda postcard, addressedto Kurt Klein’s aunt in Buffalo, N.Y.dated 1936
    • Gerda’s “Letter to Americans”was published in a military news-paper shortly after the war hadended. Gerda wrote this just twodays after being liberated.Dated May 25, 1945
    • Jews were forced to wear yellow “Jude” stars —German for “Jew” — marking and dehumanizingthem. In the Netherlands and France, these starswere labeled “Jood” and “Juif.”